Is it Cyberstalking?

Assistant State Attorney General Andrew Shirvell for the state of Michigan had set up a blog devoted to discrediting a 21 year old student body president. He goes through this young man’s facebook page and the facebook pages of his friends to find pictures he can take and deface and repost on his own site. He has actually stood outside the home of his 21 year old and protested him as a ‘pervert’ and as ‘Satan’s Representative’.

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or any electronic format to stalk or harass someone or group.

Lambèr Royakkers writes that:

“Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).

CyberAngels has written about how to identify cyberstalking:

When identifying cyberstalking “in the field,” and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.

Sounds like this Andrew Shirvell is definitely guilty of cyberstalking. This is a crime. The fact that he is personally protesting this young man outside the fellow’s own home could be considered harassment at the very least and stalking at the most. After all, this young man isn’t involved in Mr. Shirvell’s sphere of influence. Mr. Shirvell has to step outside his own sphere and into Chris Armstrong’s sphere in order to do these things. Chris Armstrong is serving on a student post at a school that, as far as I can tell, Mr. Shirvell no longer attends.

Mr Shirvell seems to think that, as an alum of the school, it is his duty to wage a personal war against the young man in a way that most reasonable people would see as harassing. Therefore, it would meet the requirements of stalking and cyberstalking.

Mr. Shirvell seems to be upset that Mr. Armstrong is a supporter of gender-neutral housing. There is a problem with this? It IS the 21st century after all. College students are ostensibly considered adults. Do we really need to separate adults because of gender and is it really all that important to worry about which reproductive bits people have under their clothing? Some schools already have co-ed housing. Some schools even have undesignated bathrooms and showering facilities in their co-ed housing.

Mr. Shirvell needs to grow up.

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